|Wikileaks:||View 02ABUJA1194 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||EFIN ECON ETRD EINV PGOV NI|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001194 SIPDIS DEPTARTMENT PASS USTR, OPIC, EXIM E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: EFIN, ECON, ETRD, EINV, PGOV, NI SUBJECT: SUBJECT: NIGERIA: RESOURCE ALLOCATION DECISION CHANGES EXTERNAL DEBT AND CASH CALL COMPUTATIONS REF: REFERENCE: 01 ABUJA 997 --------- Summary --------- 1. Summary and Introduction: The April 5 Supreme Court judgment, which ruled that offshore resources belong to the Federal Government not the coastal states, also removed external debt and oil cash calls from "first line payments." Rather than pay Nigeria,s external debt solely from national government funds, the GON now plans to allocate the approximately USD 30 billion debt between the national and state governments. Debt originally contracted by Nigeria,s states during the 1980,s will be ascribed to their successors. The Debt Management Office (DMO) believes that external payments will be delayed this month as they work out this new national-state debt apportionment procedure. 2. Initial reporting speculated national control of the Federation Account would drop to less than 52 percent as a result of the decision, as opposed to 57 percent before the judgment. The GON decision to charge states for part of the external debt and states and local governments for cash call obligations attempts to diminish this resource shift. The ruling is so sweeping that it will affect almost every aspect of government. Other areas where it will force change include the 2002 Budget, payment of elementary school teachers and financing of the new capital, Abuja. End Summary --------------------------------------------- -------- The Resource Allocation Ruling --------------------------------------------- -------- 3. The Nigerian Supreme Court announced on April 5 its decision that the national government, and not regional authorities (states), has sole control over offshore resources, including oil and gas. However, the same decision ruled that Nigeria's external debt and other official obligations such as cash calls by the joint-venture oil companies will no longer be deducted before the money is distributed among national, state, and local governments. Note: Cash calls are the Nigerian Government obligation to pay its share of joint venture capital projects in the petroleum industry. Joint ventures include most onshore and shallow water production, in addition to the majority of existing and proposed gas utilization projects: LNG's, Independent Power Projects (IPP), and ChevronTexaco's Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) plant. Offshore prospects, including Nigeria's deepwater blocks, are governed by Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs), and therefore are not subject to cash calls. 4. Note continued: GON collectible revenues from oil and non-oil sources, after first-line deductions, are deposited into the Federation Account. With the Supreme Court decision, first-line deductions are now limited to the oil derivation allocation (13 percent of net oil revenues), which is set aside for development of the nine oil-producing states, and a few other small charges. The Federation Account is then allocated to the national, state and local governments according to a constitutionally mandated formula. National government revenue is, therefore, only one portion of the Federation Account. For a full description of how the Federation Account functioned prior to the ruling, see reftel. --------------------------------------------- External Debt Traced Back to Original Source --------------------------------------------- 5. April 8, Debt Management Office Director General Akin Arikawe told EconOff that, based on the ruling, the GON planned to hold states responsible for payment of their portion of Nigeria's external debt. (Comment: Most state-originated debt was accrued during the 1980s when only 19 states existed compared to today's 36.) The reworking of the external debt accounts will take place over the course of the next month. Nigeria's debt payments, he added, would be delayed until the accounting has been completed. 6. The DMO will assign to Nigeria's new states a proportional amount of the debt accumulated by their predecessors using some yet undisclosed criteria. For example, if calculations show Zamfara is 45% of the old Sokoto State, it will be assigned 45% of the old Sokoto State debt. The DMO calculations, Arikawe believed, would be controversial. One problem was what to do with outright fraud. Arikawe cited the non-existent Anambra Carpet Factory, a company that obtained loans backed by Anambra State which eventually were incorporated into Nigeria's sovereign debt. In this case, Arikawe indicated the GON was considering charging the current state (Enugu) for the malfeasance of the former Anambra Governor (current Senator Jim Nwobodo.) 7. Arikawe expects to have the State-based portion of the debt ascribed by the end of this month. This work will, however, mean that the DMO may be late with this month's external debt payments. Once established, the states will have their portion of the external debt withheld from their Federation Account payment. This is per the "right of set off" in the Constitution. Nevertheless, he expects some states, especially Imo and Abia that he claims are bankrupt, to seek a court injunction against this action. -------------------------- Cash Calls To Be Shared? -------------------------- 8. While not directly involved in the cash call issue, Arikawe believes cash call obligations will be assessed against the states and local government authorities. He assumes the GON will measure the relative impact of oil and gas investments on each state and withhold that proportion of funds from the state's Federation Account allotment. Cash calls and external debt present U.S. dollar exchange problems. Arikawe believes that keeping the books straight will become complicated and make the rate of exchange the source of constant bickering. These and other issues, including the criteria for allocating debts from "old" states to "new" states, will be looked at by the Government's new implementation committee, which met for the first time on Tuesday, April 9, with the Attorney General at its head. 9. While Arikawe felt there would be little impact on the national or state governments from reworking external debt payments, other aspects of the judgment, however, augur additional funds for the states. The country's revenue from natural gas exports, capital gains tax, and stamp duties will be subject to the same resource allocation process as oil revenues (retroactive to May 1999). Heretofore, they have not been treated similarly. All of these items will increase revenue to the states and local governments at the expense of the national government. The Supreme Court decision also struck down the one-percent first-line payment to the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the five-percent deduction for teacher salaries from the allocation to local governments. ---------- Comment ---------- 10. Save for the March 28 decision declaring unconstitutional parts of the electoral act, this is the most far-reaching Supreme Court decision since the 1999 return to civilian government. It is certainly the most important decision regarding the rights of the national and state governments regarding resource allocation. Where possible its effect is retroactive and goes back to the date the present Constitution went into force, May 29, 1999. While it will take some time before the full impact of the decision is clear, it is certain that there will be many changes -- including a new 2002 Budget ) that will need to be put into place. 11. For reapportioning external debt, we believe Arikawe is underestimating the work and time his office will need to make the accounting changes the Administration believes necessary. They will then face the inevitable quarrels about how to divide the debt among the states. While in the aggregate, the practical effect on external debt itself may mainly be the change in accounting procedures (from taking payment directly from the Federation Account to taking the payment directly from the individual states), the process will represent a great burden on the DMO. Collectively the effect on the states may be small, but some individual states will be relative winners while others inevitably will lose. 12. Financing of the FCT will have to be dealt with by the National Assembly. Moreover, the states will probably return to court over GON attempts to use the right of set off to minimize the transfer of resources to the states and local governments. Even if they don't, the federal government will still realize a large net loss from having to share tax and natural gas revenues and fully finance the development of Abuja. Andrews
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